May 24, 2013

Article: How Bilinguals Switch Between Languages


How Bilinguals Switch Between Languages
May 20, 2013

Individuals who learn two languages at an early age seem to switch back and forth between separate "sound systems" for each language, according to new research conducted at the University of Arizona.

The research, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, addresses enduring questions in bilingual studies about how bilingual speakers hear and process sound in two different languages.

Research on bilingualism has increased in recent years as the global climate has become more intermixed, co-author Andrew Lotto noted. These new findings challenge the idea that bilinguals always have one dominant language.

"This raises the possibility that bilinguals can perceive speech like a native speaker in both languages," said lead author Kalim Gonzales, whose own son is growing up learning English and Chinese simultaneously.

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